Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the extension of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) is welcome assistance for seafood and aquaculture producers.

“The Australian Government has committed $260.9 million to extend IFAM to 30 June 2022, to keep global air links open while global trade disruptions persist, taking our total commitment for IFAM to more than $1 billion,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“This means that our fisheries and aquaculture producers can continue to access international markets, despite the difficulties presented by the pandemic.

“Since April 2020, IFAM has reconnected nine Australian ports to 58 international destinations, enabling direct international connections for Australian businesses reliant on airfreight to get their products to customers.

“This is particularly pertinent for the seafood industry which exports high quality, high value products such as live lobster, abalone and oysters.

“Supporting continued access to airfreight means that international customers can continue to enjoy these Australian products and our exporters can maintain access to important international markets while bolstering their reputation for quality.

“It’s been a challenging year for our producers across Australia, and the seafood industry has certainly seen its ups and downs, but the extension of IFAM allows for some relief.

“We’re still looking at a transition back to normal, and there will be adjustments for Australian businesses down the road.

“A testament to their calibre, Australian businesses have demonstrated ingenuity and grit in responding to the pandemic as they continue to survive and thrive.

“What I want to say to Australian businesses is: you are not alone.

“We will continue to work with you to invest in new ways of doing business.”